After agreeing to negotiate in good faith with the Students’ Union and Lister Hall Students’ Association, the University Administration has stonewalled reasonable proposals for a compromise on changes to Lister Centre.
On Friday, the Administration and student leaders discussed principles that could be followed to resolve the dispute. The Students’ Union and Lister Hall Students’ Association were prepared to move forward on the issue, and, by all indications, so was the Administration. It was understood at the time that all parties had the best interests of the University of Alberta community at heart.
Today, the Administration appears to have retracted any effort at compromise, instead presenting student leaders with a document akin to the administration’s original proposal. They have now asked students to sign an agreement similar to the Memorandum of Agreement signed in 2009 that the Administration has already breached with these changes.
The Students’ Union is unable to explain this about-face by the Administration, which is now disregarding obligations that have been spelled out in signed agreements with students and motions of the Board of Governors. The University Administration reports to the Board of Governors, and it should be troubling to all Albertans that the Board of Governors of a public institution was sidestepped in these matters.
The Students’ Union is trying to resolve this dispute quickly, to the benefit of former student employees at Lister who expected to have secure employment prior to these changes, to the benefit of thousands of past, current and future Lister residents who have voiced outrage at these changes, and to the benefit of the University of Alberta as a whole. The Students’ Union is proposing solutions that will protect all that is good about Lister’s heritage while proposing positive solutions to address any concerns. The Administration, on the other hand, is prepared to further tarnish the University of Alberta by prolonging this dispute and painting all residents of Lister with a negative stereotype. The University of Alberta deserves better.
For more information, please contact:
External Communications & Media Advisor
University of Alberta Students’ Union